As a parent, it is easy to ensure your children’s mental health and wellbeing are at the top of your list. However, you also need to look after your own. Without taking care of yourself sufficiently, you will not be able to fully be there for your children. It is also very normal to be concerned that if you are struggling with your own mental health, that you cannot cope with parenting. However, with the right tools and support, you can continue to be the excellent parent that you are, and support your children.
Here are some top tips for parents who need a mental health boost, or just a little direction for where to go when you’re feeling a little stuck.
#1 Know that it is okay to ask for help
You are not a weak person, or a bad parent if you ask for help. Whether this is help for yourself, or with your children on a busy day, it is okay to do so. Without reaching out for help, your thoughts will only snowball and continue to affect you. If you can, seek support in any way, shape, or form that you feel you need. Depending on what you are dealing with, this may be the support from a friend to talk to, a therapist to work through problems and concerns, or even a treatment center, such as Sunshine Behavioral Health.
#2 Establish a routine
A routine for yourself, and your children is a great place to start. A regular routine is important for anyone, to start the day with structure and provide a sense of safety and predictability. This enables children to become more independent and take responsibility for their daily tasks, as they learn what is going to happen, and who is going to be where. Without a routine, you risk you and your children being irritable, tired, and insecure. Routines can also help other activities that can often be challenging, get done. For example, if your children struggle to get ready for school on time, sit still at the dinner table or go to bed on time. A set routine helps consistency.
#3 Care for your basic needs
It is easy to put aside your needs and wants for the rest of the family, but it is important that you prioritize, and make time for yourself. This could be for a walk, for exercise, for therapy, for a social event, for a decent bedtime so that you can get enough sleep, for boundaries so that you don’t overwork, and many more. Take some time to figure out what you need, and what makes you feel more energized and happy. When you are happy and full of energy, you are going to be able to support your family much more, while enjoying it, and modeling great behavior to your children too, to show that it is important to do what makes them happy.
Make sure you take care of your own mental health, as well as your families.